Medical marijuana doctor’s bond still under debate

Published 10:13 pm Friday, December 18, 2009

A former Mississippi heart surgeon who later opened a medical marijuana clinic in California was captured on secret recordings urging witnesses to lie in a drug cultivation case in Mississippi, prosecutors said.

The allegation came during a bond hearing for former Pascagoula, Miss., heart surgeon Dr. David Bruce Allen, who is facing drug and witness-tampering charges in Mississippi. He’ll have to wait until sometime late next week to learn whether a bond will be reinstated in his case.

Circuit Court Judge Robert Krebs on Thursday heard testimony challenging whether there was sufficient evidence to hold the 53-year-old doctor on charges of attempting to get a witness to lie on the stand.

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Allen, who ran a medical marijuana clinic in Sacramento, Calif., was initially arrested in Mississippi in March on charges of marijuana cultivation and sale of controlled substance while in possession of a firearm. The charges came after a raid on his sprawling property in south Mississippi.

Allen was arrested the second time last week on two counts each of witness tampering, bribing a witness and attempting to get a witness to lie on the stand.

Prosecutors on Thursday played an audio recording, made by two witnesses who wore an undercover wire during an early December conversation with Allen. The witnesses are his sister and brother-in-law, Gail and Rodney Lee.

The Lees were caretakers on Allen’s 50-acre property in Mississippi, where investigators say they discovered a cultivation operation.

At one point, Allen allegedly is heard telling them: “We’ve got to get out of Mississippi.”

Rodney Lee is heard saying: “I’m expected to trust you, and hop on a plane and go to California?”

Allen said at one point: “This is what God wants you to do.”

Allen’s defense attorney tried to pick apart the statements by questioning a drug agent, Jackie Trussell.

“What did he say on the tape that would tell you, me, anybody else in this room, the judge, that he knew what he was asking them to state in a written statement, was false,” attorney Matthew Baldridge asked.

The agent indicated the recording speaks for itself.

The agent said Allen wanted the witnesses to sign an affidavit stating that the police told them to lie and say that he didn’t have anything to do with the alleged cultivation or sales.

Allen was more subdued that in previous hearings, wearing a yellow jail jump suit; his long hair tied in a ponytail. Although softer spoken, he still talked with reporters, in this case referring to the law enforcers in the courtroom crowd.

“Do you know what the difference is between me and these people here,” Allen asked reporters. “My entire life was devoted to helping people. My entire life. And these people’s entire life is devoted to hurting people.”

Allen has called police “domestic terrorists,” who he claims want to take his land in Mississippi because it has a deep lake on it there may someday be water shortages. He also has claimed police seized the property to fund a narcotics unit.